Maebara Isuke Munefusa (前原伊助宗房) was a straightforward and gentle man of few words. Loyal retainer of Asano Naganori (浅野長矩), he was good at figures and was an expert in martial arts, particularly in archery. Here we see him depicted, while knocking down a door, during the legendary assault of the forty-seven ronin (四十七士) on the residence of Kira Yoshinaka (吉良義央).
This precious woodblock print, made by the artist Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川芳虎), is the syllable “Yu” (ゆ) from the series “Biographies of Loyal and Dutiful Retainers” (忠臣義士銘々伝), commonly referred to by the translation “The Story of the Faithful Samurai in The Storehouse of Loyal Retainers”, and is entitled “Maebara Isuke Urabe no Munefusa” (間江原猪介卜部宗房).
The work, printed in May 1864 by the publisher Wakasaya Yoichi (若狭屋与市), owner of Jakurindo (若林堂), has the right signs of aging and some worming and binding holes.